JULY 9, 2016
Raikkonen keeps Ferrari balanced says Stewart
News that Kimi Raikkonen is staying at Ferrari in 2017 was hailed on all sides in the Silverstone paddock.
Some, however, questioned Ferrari's ambition in re-signing the 36-year-old Finn when the younger Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean or Valtteri Bottas were apparently all keen.
But lead Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel welcomed the news.
"I think it was the right call," he said.
"We know our primary target is to catch up so we need to be all aligned and pushing in the same direction. With Kimi, there is no politics. We put our own egos aside, which is good for the team."
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, meanwhile, said Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne gave the new deal his seal of approval that has taken "pressure" off Raikkonen's shoulders.
"We are looking for the interests of the team and the interest of the team was not looking for another driver but concentrating on car development," he said.
"We have two good drivers so that was not an issue for us, so we remove all the pressure from the shoulders of Kimi in taking this decision," Arrivabene added.
Indeed, Raikkonen seemed relieved that his extended contract would now stop the rumours.
"I don't think it changes the way we work, but everything will be a little easier because they will finally stop asking me questions about the contract," he said.
Finally, F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart also backed Ferrari's call.
"Kimi knows how to drive, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he knows how to get onto the podium and he knows how to win," the former triple world champion told Finland's MTV.
"If they had taken a younger person, it would have been a less balanced team. He gets along very well with Vettel, they're a good pairing at Ferrari and so this is the logical answer.
"I'm not sure if he can be champion again - I think his time has passed for that. But he is still a top driver who does a fantastic job," Stewart added.